Introduction

Background:

Line 3 is the single largest project in Enbridge’s history—with the cancellation of Energy East and uncertain financial backing of Kinder Morgan and Keystone XL, Line 3 is a fight that will cripple the industry while changing the narrative of Indigenous peoples within mainstream society.

The existing Line 3 is an Enbridge pipeline that transports tar sands crude oil from Hardisty, Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin, spanning Northern Minnesota and crossing Leech Lake and Fon du Lac reservations and the 1855, 154 and 1842 treaty areas.

Costing $7.5 billion, the proposed new Line 3 would be the largest project in Enbridge’s history and one of the largest crude oil pipelines in the world, carrying up to 915,000 barrels per day of one of the dirtiest fuels on earth: crude tar sands. 

In a public relations spin, Enbridge calls the new Line 3 a “replacement.” The truth is that the proposed pipeline is larger, transports a higher volume of crude oil, and operates in a completely new corridor. Proposed plans include the construction of 330 miles of new 36-inch diameter pipeline to replace 282 miles of the existing 34-inch Line 3 pipeline in Minnesota.

The proposed new route endangers the Great Lakes, home to one fifth of the world’s fresh water. It also threatens critical resources on Ojibwe treaty lands, where tribal members retain the rights to hunt, fish, gather, hold ceremony, and travel. It is our responsibility as water protectors to prevent this.

Tar Sands:

Tar sands are the dirtiest and most destructive fossil fuels.

  • Tar sands are particles of sand, clay, a type of heavy oil called bitumen, and water.
  • Unlike conventional oil, tar sands are solid, not liquid. They’re extracted through an open-pit mining process rather than a drilling process. In order to be transported via pipeline, they must be diluted with other petroleum products.
  • Tar sands are mixed with so many other chemicals that the end result is less efficient than crude oil and produces 37% more carbon emissions
  • The proposed Line 3 replacement would emit 170bn kilograms of carbon dioxide each year, which is equal to 50 coal plants.
  • A recent report by the National Academy of Sciences has shown that tar sands behave completely differently than conventional oil when spilled into waterways and wetlands, and we still don’t know how to effectively clean them up.

A Few Issues:

Abandonment

Line 3 was built in 1961, and now has significant structural problems. Instead of fixing or removing it, Enbridge plans to abandon it, leaving tribes and landowners with the extreme financial and ecological liability this poses. 

Climate Change

A report by the Administrative Law Judge found that the proposed Line 3 would cost $287 billion in carbon pollution damage. Tar sands oil produces 37% more carbon emissions than regular crude oil, and we cannot afford to continue its extraction. 

Inevitable Spills

It’s not a matter of if the pipeline will spill, but when. Enbridge promises pipeline safety, but history suggests otherwise. They’ve had over 800 spills in the last 15 years, including the largest inland oil spill in US history (1.2 million gallons) on the Kalamazoo River in 2010.

Treaty Rights Violations

The US government has a responsibility under federal law to honor the rights guaranteed to tribal members in their treaties. The proposed Line 3 corridor would violate the treaty rights of the Anishinaabeg by endangering primary areas of hunting, fishing, wild rice, and cultural resources in the 1854 & 1855 treaty territories. The US Supreme Court has upheld the rights of native peoples to hunt, fish, and subsist off the land. Line 3 threatens the culture, way of life, and physical survival of the Ojibwe people. 

Settler Colonialism &
Indigenous Liberation:

The United States is a settler colonial project. Settler colonialism is an ongoing system of violence that perpetuates the genocide and repression of Indigenous peoples and cultures.

Settler colonialism relies on an unsustainable system of extractivism: the process of extracting natural resources from the Earth to sell on the world market. As the climate catastrophe grows direr each day, this system is devastating the earth.

Today, settlers are taught that settler colonialism is a bad thing that was “done long ago.” The truth is that settler colonialism is an ongoing project, and Line 3 is an integral part of that project. It is up to us to take a stand against Line 3 and the past, present and future of destruction that it represents.

MMIWR:

With pipeline construction comes workers and with workers come Man-camps: temporary housing facilities built to accommodate the predominantly male workers who come to an area to work on pipelines.

Man-camps are hotbeds for the influx of drugs, violence against women, and sex trafficking. In Line 3’s case, the target victim demographic is Indigenous women specifically.

The correlation between pipeline construction and MMIWR is so undeniable, the PUC’s Line 3 Route Permit required Enbridge to coordinate with the Minnesota Human Trafficking Task Force of the Minnesota Department of Health to develop a Human Trafficking Prevention Plan.

What You Can Do:

We’ve compiled a list of ways you can contribute no matter where you are.

  • Do people in your region know what Line 3 is and that there are people attempting to stop it? Try putting on informational events to tell others about what’s going on. The more people who feel informed about and invested in stopping Line 3, the more possibilities open up to stop it. Use this introduction as a presentation outline! We have also uploaded various print materials for you to distribute.
  • Fundraising is another crucial activity. Money helps water protectors obtain supplies, and defend themselves in court if need be. Putting on benefit events can be a great way of raising money for projects and struggles. Some examples of events you could organize to raise money at are info-nights, film screenings, concerts, parties, or even tattoo flash days. Here are some video recommendations for film screenings. We have provided a brief list of places to send donations to here.
  • Are there struggles against extractive projects in your region? Articulating clearly why it is connected to Line 3 can be a vital contribution to the entanglement of our struggles; building the bridges we cross to encounter one another.
  • Educate yourself on settler colonialism and the fight for Indigenous liberation. We’ve assembled a reading list including a multi-tiered bibliography for study groups or individual research.

If you are organizing an event to raise awareness or funds, or want to share action reports, solidarity statements, or anything else, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

This list is simply a list of suggestions, everyone should use their own creativity to figure out the most effective way for themselves to contribute. We want to build a life not ruled by colonialism and capitalism—there are no blueprints for how to do this. Anything that elaborates the strength and heterogeneity of the movement to stop Line 3 is worth doing.